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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Pittsburgh Pirates Sign Hard-Throwing Lefty from the Dominican

Pirates Prospects has learned that the Pittsburgh Pirates have signed left-handed pitcher Estalin Ortiz from the Dominican Republic. He’s 19 years old and stands 6’4″, 220 pounds. Ortiz reportedly agreed to an offer with the Philadelphia Phillies in early December, but he did not sign. He had also been scouted by numerous other teams late last year who were interested in signing him, but wouldn’t match his bonus demand, which was higher at the time.

I was able to find two videos of him, one of them a brief one with a scouting report from that day. The first is a YouTube video from October 2016 when he pitched in a tournament in Florida. He was sitting 92-93 MPH during this game.

The second is a clip of off Twitter when he was playing in a tournament with the Dominican Prospect League this past October.

Ortiz allowed one hit and had two strikeouts during his only inning in the game shown above. He also threw two innings prior to that with six strikeouts in that game. It was during this tournament that multiple teams were interested in signing him. He has been up to 94-95 MPH since that video. He also throws a changeup in the mid-80s.

There is no bonus known at this time for Ortiz, but based on what I’ve heard from someone with inside knowledge, it’s probably in the $200,000-$300,000 range.

The Pirates have now signed 43 international free agents since July 2nd (technically 45, but two contracts were voided). We don’t know their remaining bonus pool, but I think it’s safe to say it’s under $1 M at this point and could be much closer to $500,000 left out of their $5.75 M pool.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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William R. Maloni Sr

Give him to Searage; he’ll soon have the kid throwing at 85mph, a la Locke!!

William S

The first video made me think of Sabathia, which can’t be a bad thing – always scary watching young pitchers fall off the mound like that with no way to protect themselves though.

Brian Bernard



19 and still there-hmmmmm

Frank Koch

John, Do you think the signing of Junior Vizcaino as the new International Scouting Director is the reason for all the recent International player signings during the past several weeks. It appears there has been a lot of activity since the announcement of him joining the Bucs in December.


Why was he still unsigned, yet 19 years old?


Because he used to be a RH hitting outfielder.

john fluharty

For some reason I always read your name as StuckinMud and I imagine a dude in a Pirate hat in a big truck bogged down in mud up to the windows. 🙂


MD and mud have a lot in common! 🙂


Yay, only have to wait 6 years to see him in the majors


Welcome to Pirates Prospects where they cover the whole system from signing to the major league!


I know, the coverage is phenomenal. I just wish the development time wasn’t so slow. I’ve been here since the beginning. I’ve just learned to temper my excitement especially with international guys cause the process literally feels like forever. But I feel like the Pirates have made some markedly interesting moves this year compared to recent past. We need to keep the pipeline coming so it doesn’t feel like 6 years, it feels like 1 or 2 coming every year.


Getting a kid to the majors “early” is usually 21 or 22. Very few of the Latin American players get to the US before age 18, and then there are 7 levels of the minors in the US – GCL, Appy, Short-Season, A, A+, AA, and AAA. Some teams promote aggressively, the Pirates, however, do not.

Polanco came up to the Pirates at age 22 and Marte age 23, and they were Top Prospects. .


When “hard,” “throwing,” and “lefty” are written in that order, they’re three of my favorite words.

joe s

A lefty in the 90s sounds very positive to me. Can’t wait until the DSL season starts.


Is the DSL a forgone conclusion? I was thinking GCL?


I thought about Y Garcia and other olders signings and of course you are right, just find it interesting that he will be older than most HS on the rule 4 draft and will “waste” away in the DSL.


Spend those $$$. I can’t wait to see if he has good control/command (for a 19 year old.

Frank Koch

I wonder if there is enough bonus money remaining to sign the 19 year old Mexican outfielder which was noted in an article about two weeks ago. He had some impressive stats and he might be a good player to sign.


I’m guessing he is a little wild right now with his rather pronounced fall towards third base.

Blaine Huff

It looked like he was about to go for that rare 1-3 double play.

Blaine Huff

How nice it must be to be 19 and trying to catch up… 🙂

Blaine Huff

Ah, my humor fell flat…or wasn’t really that funny…that’s always a possibility…not a very realistic one, of course 🙂

I was more musing about being 19. Trying to remember back to that time…I’m pretty sure nothing on my list of concerns was whether I’d be able to develop the skills to effective challenge professional athletes.

In fact, I think my biggest concerns were who could I get to buy beer and whether I could find a girl dumb enough to jump in bed with me…often the two were intertwined 🙂


No sir. Not at all. That was good humor. Keep it up.


I wish they would increase the international draft age to 17 at least


I doubt there is any other alternative for these kids.



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